A collectible card game for mobile devices with the past and present superstars of the WWE seems like a no-brainer, especially since the WWE video game license now resides with 2K. WWE SuperCard does indeed take full advantage of all of the talent that the world’s top wrestling promotion has seen come and go over the years, but it’s lack of enough interesting thing sot do with them means it will appeal only to loyal sports entertainment fans.
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Chances are, you’ve played something like WWE SuperCard before. The overall goal is to build the best roster of wrestlers possible, assembling a team of both Superstars (male wrestlers) and Divas (female wrestlers) that come on cards of seven different rarity tiers. At their base levels, rarer cards are always better than their more common counterparts, meaning that, for instance, the Rare version of Dolph Ziggler is better in all four attributes — Power, Toughness, Speed and Charisma — than the Uncommon version.
Cards can also be trained in the manner near and dear to all collectible card game players’ hearts” by sacrificing unwanted cards to level up others. Two copies of the exact same card can be merged together to form its Pro version, raising its attribute caps. There are also support cards, things like chairs, ladders and even the WWE Universe itself, which can affect matches by modifying one specific stat.
Playing an Exhibition game allows you to win new cards by assembling a team of four Superstars, one Diva and two support cards and pitting it against your choice of one of four opponents whose decks are roughly equivalent to your own. Each game consists of three matches (plus an occasional fourth in case of rare ties), and there’s some strategy involved in winning them: SuperCard tells you which one or two attributes are used to decide the match, and you have to decide who to send to contest it — along with a support card, which can only be used in one match — without knowing who is coming down the ramp from the other team.
Some wrestler cards also have special abilities that activate randomly, and there’s a tag team alignment mechanic that makes tag matches interesting. The animations are also cool, and my kids enjoyed seeing the cards pull off drop kicks and spinning slams even though they “still looked like cards wrestling each other.” Winning an Exhibition game gets you two picks from a board of rewards while losers still get one as a consolation prize.
Unfortunately, the King of the Ring mode that should be the game’s centerpiece isn’t as compelling and makes ridiculous demands on your time. This mode asks you to pick a team of ten wrestlers and enter into a tournament against 15 other players. That sounds great, but it turns out to be strictly a management exercise. Wrestlers use up stamina in eavery match, and you need to shuttle them between the starting lineup and the bench in order to have the best chance of winning. Matches are simulated, so you can’t even make the choices you can in Exhibitions.
A King of the Ring “season” includes a round robin where you face all 15 of the other participants three times each before moving on to the elimination rounds, and a timer tells you how much time you have to make changes before the next match. It’s worth pointing out that the tournament goes 24 hours a day, almost like the developers don’t expect WWE fans to eat or sleep. Any mobile game that wants you to check in every 45 minutes all day long is asking too much.
Cat Daddy Games and 2K are promising constant roster updates, which will please diehard wrestling fans, but what WWE SuperCard really needs to hook people over the long term is more to do. It would be an ironic shame for a game based on one of the most vibrant, ever-changing forms of entertainment in all of pop culture to fail to catch on because it gets stale too quickly.
Pull the trigger on WWE SuperCard if …
- Collecting cards of WWE grapplers from throughout the promotion’s history appeals to you
- You feel like even with Raw, Smackdown and the WWE Network, there’s just not enough WWE in your life
- You want to see a trading card come off the top rope
Don’t pull the trigger if …
- You don’t have your phone or tablet by you at all times
- Your favorite part of WWE programming are the promos the wrestlers cut
- Your friends and family know you as “the impatient one”